By KORNKAMON AKSORNDECH,
INVESTIGATORS from Thung Song Hong Police Station in Bangkok yesterday summoned a former colleague of deceased land official Tawatchai Anukul to testify in a bid to find clues to the cause of his mysterious death.
Tawatchai, a suspect in the case of an illegal land-deed registration, died while in the custody of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on August 30. The autopsy found that his death stemmed from a ruptured liver, bleeding in the stomach due to blunt force trauma and suffocation – while the DSI had earlier claimed he hanged himself with a pair of socks.
The Land Department’s litigation expert Thawatchai Boonkaewwan testified to police yesterday about Tawatchai Anukul’s work and his alleged abuse of authority in signing rights documents for land encroaching on national parks in Phuket and Phang Nga provinces.
Thung Song Hong superintendent Pol Colonel Mana Pohchuay said police should be able to conclude the case soon if witness interviews and forensic test results were complete.
He said police had Tawatchai’s personal belongings tested to see if they carried a third person’s DNA sample. Today police would summon DSI communication officials who manned the DSI building’s closed-circuit TV system for additional information, he said. Mongkutwattana General Hospital’s medical team, which treated Tawatchai, would also give additional testimony later.
Meanwhile, the DSI invited much-respected Phra Phrommangalajarn – better known as Chaokhun Thongchai of Bangkok’s Wat Traimitr Withayaram – along with eight monks to perform a blessing ceremony for the agency to mark the 14th anniversary of the DSI’s establishment.
DSI chief Pol Colonel Paisit Wongmuang also led 1,000 DSI officials to take an oath in acting against corruption. Paisit said the case of the mysterious death of DSI detainee Tawatchai was divided into two parts – the probe into the autopsy results, to be handled by Thung Song Hong police, and the Justice Ministry-assigned fact-finding probe.
The latter investigation had progressed a long way, Paisit said, affirming it was trying to decide whether any official would have had a motive to kill Tawatchai. He said the DSI had launched a disciplinary probe against more than 10 officials who were at the scene, although the DSI would also wait and see what other agencies’ probes into this case had found.
He confirmed the officials were initially deemed as having failed in performing their duties and had lied to supervisors. If on that day all officials – three on the upper-floor control room, two on guard duty on the lower floor and 10 others who guarded the premises – had done their jobs strictly, this problem would not have occurred, he added.